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Friday, March 4, 2011

before lifting his folded coat and other poems

on some afternoons,
i picture a professor out there.
in a small town.
eating carefully and quietly
the lunch his wife packed.
a sandwich. an apple. yogurt.
he will then plug the electric kettle
into the hard-to-reach socket and wait for the water to boil.
his office is small but tidy,
and the faculty, no matter how many times they visit,
still marvel how he's found a place for so many books.

i see him moving down the page, with a stub pencil,
lightly leaving marks in the margins.
a trail for himself.
he wears a tie,
though class doesn't meet again
till next week.

a soft sun slants through the window.
he makes a final note and smiles over something
before closing the book,
before lifting his folded coat and heading out to walk
among the rust-colored leaves of autumn.

how truly sacred is art.
a photograph, a performance, a theory, a lyric,
a piece of beauty placed perfectly in the world.
countless are the moments when i've fallen
so intoxicatingly in love with a work that my only choice seemed
to devote my entire life toward producing something just like it.

but perhaps, at root, i just wanted be the person
responsible for bringing more magic into the world,
perhaps i was just trying to recruit society's love
through the medium of an object, a thing.

if ever i am to create my highest work,
i must finally abandon the artist in me who beckons the world,
look, look at what i made.

i am beginning to trust that i am more
than language, more than thought.

when i let go of words,
when i let go of names,
i begin to notice someone here
other than just the thinker.

today i noticed the potential for a disagreement.
a friend offered an opinion
that differed drastically from my own.
a part of me wanted to jump in and argue,
to correct,
to tell him he was wrong.
but i didn't.
i felt secure in my own feelings,
and thus felt no need to mount a defense.

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